…As 10-goal Osimhen Smashes Goal Records
Nigeria’s Golden Eaglets have entered the Guinness Book of Records as the only nation in the world to have won the FIFA U-17 World Cup five times, when they defeated fellow West Africans Mali in the final of the FIFA U-17 World Cup in Chile earlier this morning, to lift the trophy.
The game against the Maliens had begun with some pulse-stopping moments when Nigeria, as early as the 3rd minute, got a penalty, when Chato was adjudged to have handled Osimhen’s cross in the Malien box, only for Osinachi Ebere to shoot straight at keeper Samuel Diarra.
The Malian had looked the more enterprising side in the first half, but the Nigerians who only showed glimpses of creativity in the first half returned with a vengeance in the second half and, after Udochukwu Anumudu’s scorcher hit the wood-work and Victor Osimhen’s left-legged loop hit was parried by Diarra, Osiimhen got a through-pass from Stephen Chukwueke in the 56th minute and wasted no time in sending it in.
The Nigerians piled on the pressure and, three minutes later, Funsho Bamgboye sent a thumping shot past an utterly helpless Diarra to double the West Africans’ lead.
All the Maliens could do after the double was play catch-up and wait to catch the Nigerians napping, but it never happened, thanks to the tactics of Coach Emmanuel Amuneke.
The Golden Eaglets had, in the run-up, enjoyed favourable results at the Estadio Nacional Julio Martínez Prádanos, winning USA 2-0, before coasting to victory at the Estadio Sausalito in Vina del Mar with a crushing 5-1 win over Chile in their second group phase match.
The last group game was against Croatia at the Estadio Francisco Sanchez Rumoroso, ending 1-2, in favour of the determined Serbians.
The team marched on to annihilate Australia 6-0 in the second round and battered Brazil 3-0 in the quarter final, before dispatching the fierce Mexicans 4-2 in the semi-final.
With four wins (1985, 1993, 2007 and 2013), Nigeria has the highest record of triumphs in the global cadet championship. Victory over Mali in a sumptuous all-African final in Chile’s tourist destination, Vina del Mar, will take Nigeria’s wins to five, followed by Brazil with three.
The determined Maliens, who found themselves in the final of the cadet championship for the first time, left nothing to chance, as they threw all they got into the game.